What eating healthy looks like

28 Oct 2019

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What eating healthy looks like

In our previous posts, we talked about how challenging it is to manage all our daily priorities (life, work, kids….) & still cook healthy meals from scratch.

Healthy eating can be a controversial topic. There are so many options today between organic, vegan, paleo and keto, all claiming to be healthy and offering a totally different perspective on health. It’s easy to get overwhelmed looking for guidelines. Most of us can agree that heavily processed foods, starch, carbs, and lots of fried options, is a far cry from a healthy diet. Let’s break it down and look at what the experts say.

What did Mom and Dad say?

Things like “clean your plate” and “Eat your veggies”. It’s true that eating healthy sustaining foods helps to balance your blood sugar; and therefore, helps to stabilize your mood. But portion sizes in America have gone off the deep end. No one needs to clean their plate if their plate is a platter. In general, most experts agree that a serving size is roughly equivalent to the palm of your hand. Now as for the veggies, that’s a message we can all agree on. No one is going to argue you’ll gain weight or decline in health by piling on the greens. Way to go Mom and Dad.

What does the Government say?

Well that depends on when you ask. In the 40’s there were 7 food groups recommended. In the 70’s they reduced it to 4. Then turned it into a pyramid in the 90’s and now we have the “my plate” icon. The new icon suggests that we should eat a balance of fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins and milk. The government guidelines have changed over the years as science has evolved and our understanding of nutrition has changed. Of course, they are also influenced by industry and culture trends. But balance has always been the resounding message, eat a variety of foods, and eat in moderation.

What does your Doctor say?

This might be a great source for a more personalized direction. As he or she can assess your personal medical history and challenges. They can consider your blood work, your family’s history of heart disease or diabetes, any food allergies you may have or possible interactions with medications you may be on. But overall the general recommendation from the medical field is fewer processed foods, more fruits, whole grains (whole wheat) veggies, and proteins, keeping sugar, starch (e.g. flour, potato) and fat in moderation.

So what DOES healthy eating really look like?

We’ve looked at a variety of “experts” and we’ve received a bunch of different answers. How can we move forward? It’s not as overwhelming as it might seem. The best advice is to look for the common threads. Although the focus and motivations of these people are different, there are a few things they are saying that are the same. Eat a variety of nutrient rich foods. Avoid excess sugar and overly processed ingredients. Of course the best way to know what’s on your plate, is to prepare your own food from scratch. Nutrient rich meals are made with simple ingredients and if you are what you eat, what’s on your plate matters. The next best way is to get someone to prepare it for you under your direction. This is where CookinGenie can come to your home & create home cooked meals for you to enjoy. We shop, we cook & we clean. Try us out.


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Understanding USDA Beef Grades_CookinGenie_blog

29 Jul 2021

When you walk through the meat section at the grocery store, you will often find steaks labeled with a small shield in the right-hand corner, denoting a USDA grade and claiming the steak as prime, choice, or select. But what do these grades really mean? And how should they impact your decisions on what steak to buy, or not to buy?

The first thing to understand is that the USDA has two main objectives when looking at beef: inspection and grading. Inspection is required of all meats that are shipped across state lines, as mandated by the Meat Inspection Act of 1906. Inspection is a safety measure; it does not guarantee quality but simply ensures that the meat is safe for human consumption.

Grading, however, is different. A grade is an assurance of quality you can trust. Within 24 hours of the animal being slaughtered, expert USDA graders examine the meat and assign a grade on the basis of age, color, texture, firmness, and marbling.

Of these grading criteria, marbling, which is the intramuscular fat inside a piece of meat, is the easiest to identify—it’s the white lines that run through a piece of raw steak. Marbling equals tenderness and juiciness. As the steak cooks, the fat melts and makes the steak moist and tender. The more marbling, the higher quality the steak.

With all these criteria in mind, the USDA has eight grades it applies to beef: Prime, choice, select, standard, commercial, utility, cutter, and canner. The higher the grade, the more expensive the steak.

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Prime is the highest grade, this meat comes from younger animals, is rich in marbling, juicy, tender, and flavorful. But it is also expensive and can be hard to find.

Choice meat is of excellent quality, with solid marbling and flavor, it offers great value and is readily available. Choice steaks are good candidates for grilling, roasting, or searing.

Select meat is of solid quality and is very economical. Since select meats are a little tougher and drier, they are well suited for moist cooking techniques like stewing and braising.

Standard meat is cheap, tough, and of low quality. Sometimes you will see it as an ungraded store brand meat but typically it’s sold as ground meat or other processed products.

Utility, cutter, and canner meats are rarely ever used in foodservice and are typically used to make pet food and other canned products.

It’s also important to note that grading, unlike inspection, is voluntary and not required by law. So, if you go to a local butcher or farmer, their steak may not be graded, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s low quality. When shopping for these steaks, the easiest way to determine quality is to look for marbling.

Here at CookinGenie, we offer a wide range of delicious, creative steak dishes and strive to use butcher-fresh meat graded choice or better. Beneath every dish on the website, you will find a transparent list of ingredients so that you know it is quality you can trust. Browse the menu today to see what amazing steak-night dishes can be prepared in your own kitchen.

Sources: https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2013/01/28/whats-your-beef-prime-choice-or-select?page=1

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Vegan & Vegetarian - CookinGenie

02 Jun 2021

One of the most dominant food trends over the past several years has been the rise of veganism. Back in 2004, there were only about 300,000 vegans living in the U.S. But in 2019, that number was over 9 million, representing a 300% increase over 15 years. Plus, reporting using google search trends shows that worldwide interest in veganism hit an all-time high in 2020.

It’s easy to understand why this rise is happening. Extensive medical research has shown that a vegan, or plant-based, diet can have health benefits ranging from weight loss, diabetes prevention, decreased risk of cancer, improved heart health, and more.

Another great reason for a vegan diet is the environment. As the planet continues to warm, people are looking for ways to live more environmentally-friendly, and eating plant-based is one of the most effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint.

But it’s not just hard-core animal lovers and health nuts that are driving the push towards veganism. Several high-profile celebrities such as singers Ariana Grande and Beyonce, actors Zac Efron and Liam Hemsworth, and even former president Bill Clinton, eat a plant-based diet.

Athletes are in on the trend too. There are dozens of world-class vegan athletes, including U.S. women’s soccer star Alex Morgan, NBA point guards Chris Paul and Kyrie Irving, and the world’s top-ranked male tennis player, Novak Djokovic. All of these elite athletes say that their performance improved after switching to a vegan diet.

However, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. A recent survey from Packaged Facts show that eating a flexitarian diet, which is largely plant-based, with some meat and dairy, is also ticking upwards, with about 36% of U.S. consumers identifying as such.

Despite all these trends, it can still be very challenging to find healthy, wholesome, delicious vegan and vegetarian food. Many restaurant menus still offer very little meat-free options. Lots of us grew up in meat-centric households and have friends and family who still sneer at the idea of veganism. Plus, if you’re not used to cooking vegan food, it can be hard to make filling, satisfying entrees with vegetables.

That’s where CookinGenie comes in. Whether you’re a committed vegan, vegetarian, or just trying to eat more veggies, CookinGenie can help you eat more delicious plant-based meals. Genie Christian Farah even offers a 100% vegan menu. But don’t worry, his entirely plant-based menu still has delicious favorites like an impossible cheeseburger and dairy-free mac n’ cheese, so you don’t have to compromise on taste. He also has other incredible whole food vegan options like a vibrant homemade falafel platter, inspired by his Lebanese heritage.

Other genies’ menus have more tasty plant-based offerings. You’ll find hearty vegan and vegetarian items like roasted cauliflower steaks with couscous, creamy mushroom risotto, and exciting international dishes like Indian lentil stew. Many of these dishes are also packed with healthy proteins.

Wherever, you may fall on the eating spectrum, if you’re looking for an affordable, easy, healthy, and delicious way to incorporate more plant-based meals in your diet, look no further than CookinGenie.

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Celebrate Valentine's Day with CookinGenie

09 Feb 2021

Valentine’s Day has been celebrated since ancient Roman times—it began as a pagan fertility festival to celebrate Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, where goats were sacrificed, and women were paired off with men by lottery. The celebration was “Christianized” by Pope Gelasius I as the feast of St. Valentine in the 5th century, but it took centuries for the day to be associated with love. Written valentines first appeared in the 1400s, but it was the Victorians who transformed Valentine’s Day into the romantic celebration of cards and flowers that we now know.

Typically, in a normal world, Valentine’s Day meant scoring a reservation at an ultra-cozy restaurant for a leisurely feast in a romantic, dimly lit dining room. We can hope for those days to be a reality soon again. But if you are looking to celebrate and don’t want to miss out on a fine dining evening with your special someone, CookinGenie can make it happen. Turns out you CAN make the day extra special —and we’re here to help.

CookinGenie brings the restaurant experience to your home so you can enjoy a sumptuous Valentine’s Day meal prepared by a local culinary expert in the safety of your very own dining room. All at below restaurant prices. Our Genies offer a wide variety of special occasion appetizers, entrees, and desserts for your celebration. We’re talking a silky Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto, or decadent New York Strip Steak with Potatoes, Asparagus and Hollandaise Sauce, or perfectly prepared Fettuccini Mare, bursting with cherry tomatoes and plump, tender shrimp. They’ll show up at your door with everything they need to make your meal, and when they’re done, our Genies clean up and leave your kitchen as clean as (or maybe even cleaner!) than it was when they arrived. All you need to do is dim the lights, pop open the champagne, and light some candles for a romantic dinner for two (and there may be leftovers to pack a lunch the next day).

Book your Genie this Valentine’s Day weekend and see just how romantic “let’s stay in” can be.

PS Don’t see your favorites on our menu? Send us an email and we’ll work to customize a meal just for you.

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